Russell Simmons is getting back into the record label business, but with a new spin. Simmons, along with music executive Steve Rifkind and veteran film and TV producer Brian Robbins, is launching All Def Music, aimed at finding YouTube talent, the Los Angeles Times reports.
All Def Music will fall under the Universal Music Group umbrella, the same which holds legendary hip hop label Def Jam, founded by Simmons and Rick Rubin in the early '80s.
UMG acquired Def Jam in 1999.
Simmons' new label is the first of its kind "created specifically to sign, develop and promote artists on YouTube."
Rifkind, founder of Loud Records, pointed to both labels' marketing tactics as an outline for the new venture. "How [Simmons] built Def Jam and how I built Loud was through the streets and through grass-roots marketing," he said. "Cut to 20 years later, we're applying this same formula using YouTube as our street team."
UMG CEO Lucian Grainge noted the "exponential growth of Internet-based video" in creating a "powerful new outlet for music and music-based content." As such, the label is a component of a "broader strategy" involving partnerships with media and tech entrepreneurs.
The first artist signed to All Def Music is Asher Roth.
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(Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)